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Why Shorter Employee Surveys Are Better

Imagine a typical large company with 1,000 employees sending out its annual employee survey. That survey likely has at least 50 questions that each and every employee is expected to slog through. Even more alarming is the 50,000 responses that someone is expected to read and assess. The company has the right motives at heart, but the execution results in lackluster answers, employee apathy, and lower response rates.

This is why short, regular surveys are better for both employees and employers. The limited number of questions allows employees to be more thoughtful and leads to higher response rates. And fewer questions prevent employer analysis paralysis: they can more easily absorb feedback and pinpoint trouble areas.


  1. Having fewer questions feels manageable, leading to higher response rates

  2. Employees can offer deep, comprehensive responses if there are fewer questions

  3. Short surveys collect less data, making it easier for managers to absorb information

  4. Limiting the number of questions prevents survey question creep

  5. One or two focused questions lead to focused, timely action

In our experience, sticking to a short, simple survey can result in sustained employee participation rates as high as 90%. And if you’re wondering how to make an actionable survey that’s short and simple, have no fear. We’ve got lots of great info on that coming up.

A case for short surveys
Client: Fortune 500 technology company
Challenge: How to get quick pulses on employee sentiment when you already have an annual survey

Story: A senior team manager was at odds with how to deal with his company’s annual employee survey. Because employees changed roles and jobs quite a bit, the annual survey didn’t fully capture the nuances of new additions to the team, changes in managers, or evolutions in role responsibilities. Additionally, because the annual survey was so high level, it failed to capture team-level engagement that was much more relevant to him and his direct reports.

This manager was looking for an alternative to this process and was referred to TINYpulse. Upon implementing TINYpulse, he found it was a great complement to his company’s annual survey. The annual survey provided department-level benchmarks, while TINYpulse’s short, regular surveys supplemented that information by offering him insights into his team’s unique dynamics, challenges, and successes. And given the frequent team member changes, it allowed our client to quickly get a read on how these changes affected team morale — something the annual survey never allowed him to do.

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